A High Court judge has ruled against H&M in a dispute patent case involving a technology used in the underwiring of bras.
Fabrics manufacturer Stretchline claimed H&M had infringed the company’s patent on a piece of ‘bra technology’, which prevents the underwire in a bra from perforating its wire casing.
Stretchline said the infringement, which it discovered in 2012, was the second time H&M had used its designs following a similar case against the retailer in 2011, in which the parties settled.
The judgement took place at the High Court in London on November 20. As a result of the judgement, H&M is set to pay Stretchline an injunction, damages, costs and other remedies, subject to any successful appeal.
Robert Glenn, head of IP at Stretchline, said: “This is an important day for Stretchline as we are, and always have been, extremely proud of our innovative technologies. It’s important to our customers that we protect our IP rights and that is all we have sought to do here.”
Nick McDonald, partner at Nelsons Solicitors, which represented Stretchline in the case, said: “Stretchline has been successful and the court has ruled that each of the 12 different garments it cited as infringing in its claim do indeed infringe its patent – and therefore the settlement agreement has been breached by H&M.”
A spokeswoman for H&M said the fashion chain was considering an appeal against the verdict.
She said: “H&M respects the intellectual property of third parties and does all that it can not to interfere with valid rights. It is unfortunate that the legal action commenced by Stretchline could not be resolved, which is H&M’s preferred solution, and H&M is considering an appeal against the judgment. A similar patent infringement claim was brought by Stretchline against H&M in the US, in tandem with the UK action, but was withdrawn by Stretchline before trial.”